For my needs I recently created - Best Popular Picture Books on Goodreads with pretty limited criteria - that is 5000 ratings and shelved at least 500 times as "picture book". Sure it won't be as long as this list - and if people ever start voting on it, I'll probably end up doing a lot of deletion. But it will always be a good starting place for picture books.
In 1949 American writer and illustrator Richard Scarry began his career working on the Little Golden Books series. His Best Word Book Ever from 1963 has sold 4 million copies. In total Scarry wrote and illustrated more than 250 books and more than 100 million of his books have been sold worldwide. In 1963, Where The Wild Things Are by American writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak was published. It has been adapted into other media several times, including an animated short in 1973, a 1980 opera, and, in 2009, a live-action feature film adaptation directed by Spike Jonze. By 2008 it had sold over 19 million copies worldwide. American illustrator and author Gyo Fujikawa created more than 50 books between 1963 and 1990. Her work has been translated into 17 languages and published in 22 countries. Her most popular books, Babies and Baby Animals, have sold over 1.7 million copies in the U.S. Fujikawa is recognized for being the earliest mainstream illustrator of picture books to include children of many races in her work.
These kids stories emphasize basic developmental and emotional concepts such as sharing, compromise, and bedtime. "The Land of Words" series is an ongoing collection of alphabet stories which tackle moral lessons. "Don't Judge a Book" and "Gnarble's World" (a rich web of content with twelve interconnected stories) help introduce and sharpen deductive reasoning skills.
Watty Piper and Loren Long brought us this inspiring story of a little train engine many years ago and it is still inspiring and encouraging millions of people, children and adults alike. When the little train gets stuck at the bottom of a hill, the little engine keeps his focus, and keeps telling himself “I think I can, I think I can” until eventually he makes it to the top of the hill. The message this leaves the reader with is one of how important it is to be determined, persevere, and never stop trying. One of the most inspirational children’s books ever, this one is a classic.
Cows may seem quite boring to most people, especially when they are plain old ordinary cows. The way Doreen Cronin tells it with pictures by Betsy Lewin that prove it to be true, Farmer Brown’s cows are no ordinary cows, at least not after they find an old typewriter that someone left in the barn. When the cows begin to learn how to spell and write, they insist on being treated differently and end up going on strike when Farmer Brown refuses their demands. Funny, delightful and entertaining, this is a great book for the entire family to share.
This tricky tale tells the story of hungry soldiers who outsmart villagers unwilling to share their food. The soldiers concoct a soup made of stones, that little by little requires vegetables and meat, until the soldiers ultimately cook up a hearty meal. A book about sharing and cleverness, Stone Soup also featuring drawings that reveal something new with each view.
A picture book is a book, typically for children, in which the illustrations are as important as (or even more important than) the words in telling the story. Picture books have traditionally been 32 pages long, although Little Golden Books are 24 pages. In picture books, there are illustrations on every page or on one of every pair of facing pages.
The Kate Greenaway Medal was established in the United Kingdom in 1955 in honour of the children's illustrator, Kate Greenaway. The medal is given annually to an outstanding work of illustration in children's literature. It is awarded by Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). Since 1965 the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (German Youth literature prize) includes a category for picture books. The IBBY Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration has been awarded since 1966. The Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, first presented in 1967, includes a category for picture books. In 2006, the ALA started awarding the Geisel Award, named after Dr. Seuss, to the most distinguished beginning reader book. The award is presented to both the author and illustrator, in "literary and artistic achievements to engage children in reading."
A story with a moral to learn is something to treasure, and this is one such story. These educational stories are very easy to add to the best children’s books of all-time. The rainbow fish happens to be the most beautiful fish in the ocean, and he knows it. His beauty has gone to his head and has even made him become proud and rude to his friends. When his friends all abandon him, he knows that there is something wrong, but can’t imagine what it is. He finds the wise old octopus and asks for some advice. The octopus tells him to share some of his beauty with others, and to begin looking at the beauty that comes from the inside as being what really makes someone beautiful. Though it is shiny and colorful, this is one story that offers more than outer beauty.
Miss Merriweather, the librarian, is firm on no running and no noise in the library. But what about lions? This gentle, artful read tells the story of a lion who makes himself quietly at home among children in a library, until the day an emergency strikes. A sweet tale about friendship, the love of reading, and those times when rules must be broken.
Mattick provides a lovely and intimate account of how her great-grandfather Harry Colebourn, a Canadian veterinarian during WWI, acquired and cared for the bear that would inspire Winnie-the-Pooh. Playfulness and tenderness go hand in hand in both text and art, as Mattick and Blackall reveal the real-life backstory behind one of the most beloved characters in children's literature.
The kids in Miss Nelson’s class know she’s the nicest teacher in the entire school. So why are they so naughty and disrespectful to her? When she suddenly is absent and nobody knows where she is, the kids get worried about her. She has disappeared! Now they are stuck with a substitute who is not nearly as nice as Miss Nelson. They want her back, and they want her back now! This is one story that may make teacher appreciation something that is an everyday art ( at least for some children). Sharing this story at bedtime or anytime will give some laughs and a lot of entertainment.
Graeme Base brings storytelling to a whole new level with puzzles made out of illustrated animals and different layers used to create illustrations that will draw the eye to find all the hidden treasures. This is like no other children’s alphabet story, and it will amuse and entertain anyone from age 2 to 102. Colorful, exciting, and entertaining, the detail is a virtual eye feast. Each page of detailed puzzles is matched to a letter of the alphabet and will encourage the reader to take their time finding all that is hiding within the pictures. Fun to share and even more fun to enjoy alone, this is one story that will keep you coming back.
This little monkey has become one of the most beloved of all pets, and with all the trouble he can get into, stories about him are winners in almost every household. George knows how to have fun, but getting into trouble because of his curiosity is what usually happens. Sharing these tales will give you and your children lots of laughs and offer entertainment for years. One good thing about the trouble George manages to find is that is almost always followed by something good or funny, and the man with the yellow hat is always understanding with the little monkey.
It’s everyone’s favorite precocious piglet—Olivia! The red-only-wearing, brother-scaring darling who hates naps and loves exhausting everyone makes an unforgettable name for herself in this howl that pays homage to Eloise. Full of expertly rendered charcoal drawings that deliver zinger after zinger, Olivia is perfect for energetic kids and their exhausted grown-ups.